Tha Earn Wäng

Author: John Erskine

Date: 1995

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 3 Spring 1995

(The Eaglewing)

Mair nor thie hunner an fäftie yeir syne, in 16 an 36, a schip pit oot fae Loch Fergus (Belfast Lough) intil tha narra watters o tha Dalriadae Sey atweesh Ulster an Scotlann an oot intil tha watters o tha Atlaintic. Thar wus yin hunner an fowrtie fowk abuird tha schip an the haed ettlet tae quät Ulster an tae flit til tha new worl, til Americae. Bot twa munt efter, tha schip, gey blathert an tha fowk fair forfauchen bot muckle blythe tae gat aisement, pit in yinst mair til Loch Fergus. The hadnae wän owre.

Sae, quha wud aa thir fowk hae bin, an quhitfor haed the ettlet tae flit til tha new worl?

A hairtsair fowk

Thae days wus gey an haird an a herskit for tha Scotch Presbyterians in Ulster: the wurnae weel thocht o an wur aa ill-houden bi tha Athorities. Quhan Wentworth wus appunctit Laird Depute o Airlann he cudnae thole tha Presbyterians. Wentworth an tha pralats, abies Ussher, turnt agin tha Presbyterians an huntit tha minísters frae thair maetin hooses. Tha Scotch in Ulster wus taen for rebels — nae bischop, nae käng, thocht Wentworth — an the cud nocht worschip tha Lord thair ain gate forebye hidlins in thair hames an oot hooses an on tha braes. The haed muckle wrocht wi tha heich heidyins bot nae guid cum o it ava. The cudnae dae ocht mair an the cudnae thole it nae langr. Monies wus mindit tae flit til Scotlann bot the cud nocht for tha Presbyterians wus ill-houden thar an aa.

A wheen o fowk foregaithert for a collogue an yin o tha heid minísters, John Livingstone, scrievit in 16 an 34 til John Winthrop, Governer o Massaechussets, speirin at him gin thar wudnae be onie laun for tae be haed in New Inglann. In thae days monies tha Puritan fae Inglann wus flittit til Americae: tha Pilgrim Faithers had pit oot in the Mayflooer in 16 an 20, a wheen o yeirs afore. Winthrop was hairtenin til thaim an affert laun til thaim on the braes o tha Merrimac Watter.

A schip gets biggit

Tha fowk, gey upliftit, ettlet tae flit til New Inglann an was mindit tae sae tha haun o tha Lord in it aa. The gart a schip tae be biggit, a schip o 115 ton, aiblins at Groomsport, bot mair nor liker at Cairrick. The gien tha schip tha neám Earn Wäng (Eagle Wing) fae tha wuirds in the Buik o Exaedus (19:4)

Ye hae saen wi yer ain een at quhit A daen til tha Aegyptians an quhitwey A hae uphouden ye on earn’s wängs an brocht ye here tae masel.

Tha fowk had ettlet tae pit oot in tha Spring, quhan tha waither wud hae fairit an weel afore tha blufferts o tha hinnerenn o tha yeir. Bot the haed gat tae wait on tha schip gettin biggit an ootreikit: the didnae quät thair hames tae tha simmer. The sault thair hames an aa the haed an gat thairsels girt for the traik. The wur gey flochtit bot wus greathairtit tae quät tha pairts an tha freens at the kent forebye. In amang tha fowk — menfowk, weeminfowk an childer, tha maist frae Ulster bot a wheen frae Scotlann forebye — wus tha minísters Robert Blair an John Livingstone an tha Provost o Ayr, John Stuart. The haed muckle asperans in thair hairts.

Tha schip pits oot

Tha schip pit oot fae Cairrick on tha 9t Sectemmer an tuk til tha narra seys atweesh Ulster an Scotlann lukin tha north. Bit quhaniver scho pit oot intil tha narra seys scho cum on frowart wuns at driv her in til Loch Ryan tae hiddle. Quhan tha wins wus lown scho pit oot again. Scho haednae far gaen bot scho pit in til tha Kyles o Bute acause the howe was lek. The groondit her tae colf tha howe an tae mak her calfat. Bot anent Robert Blair it wasnae tha schip bot tha hairt o tha chaptane at wus lek. Scunnert wi aa his sonzie tha fowk walet anither for tae be chaptane.

Adaes oot in tha Atlaintic

Yinst mair the pit oot intil tha Atlaintic. Tha waither wus furthersome an tha schip snuved thie or fower hunner league wioot adaes. Bot quhan the cum mair near tae Newfoanlann nor Euraip tha waither gat waur. A bluffert frae tha north an west gat up an stairtit tae gurl an skirl an hushle tha graith. It cum a blouster an dingit tha schip. Scho wus jachelt an scho howdit an scho wus aa bot owreset bi tha sey. Tha wun rivit tha foresaile an smathert bäts o tha graith. Tha waws wedeit an cum in owre tha schip an owre tha cahute an aa; the tofruschit yin o tha gran simmers an dingit tae scowes a wheen o tha clifts o tha ourloft an drookit aa tha fowk at wus atweesh tha lofts. Tha schip stairtit tae tak in an the haed tae yuise twa pomp tae pit oot the watter.

Bot waur nor aa thon, tha bensell o tha blouster dingit tha gubernakil fae tha huidins an the cudnae airt tha schip ava. Yin o tha fowk, Andra Agnew, wi a cordell pit roon him an wi his lumes wapt til him, wus pit doon owre tha side an wi hae mair nor his heid abune tha watter wrocht tae he haed it couthert.

Bot tha chaptane an tha menfowk o tha kippage cum tae tha fowk an telt thaim at thar wus mair blousters an mair adaes tae cum an threapt at in tha hinnerenn o tha yeir the cud nocht gae on wi aa tha frowart waither. The wud hae til pit aboot an mak a hame-cumin in Ulster yinst mair.

Tha schip pits aboot

The fowk wus gey forfauchen bi quhit the wur telt bot jaloused at aiblins tha blouster wus sendit bi the Lord an at He haed nocht ettlet for thaim tae gang til Americae ava. Aiblins He had ettlet for thaim tae wrocht in Ulster an Scotlann. The wur mindit tae bide fower an twunnie hoor langr. Gin tha blouster wus lown efter fower an twunnie hoor the wud thole tha waither an luk tae win Americae, bot gin the blouster haed nocht lowdent efter fower an twunnie hoor the wud tak it for a takinar frae tha Lord, wud pit aboot and mak a hame-cumin in the kintra the haed quät. The blouster daed nocht lowden. Tha schip pit roon an oot til tha aist. Tha waither wus furthersome an at lenth an lang, roon 3t Novemmer, tha schip pit intil Loch Fergus yinst mair.

Tha traik wus a sair herskit on tha fowk: an auld bodie an a wean deed and wus pit owreboord an tha day efter tha hame-cumin. William, at wus tha bairn o Robert Blair, deed forebye. On tha traik, tha guidwife o Michael Colvert cleckit a wean at Mr Livingstone kirstent ‘Seaborn’. The haed muckle tholet. The wur forfauchen an the wur feart at ither fowk wud scrip thaim. Bot in thair hairts the tuk it for certes as it wus the Lord at haed gart thaim pit aboot an haed brocht thaim til Loch Fergus yinst mair. Tha adaes o tha lang dreich sailin wus ahint thaim an tha jaloused at tha Lord haed ettlet on ither darg for thirsels. An in tha incumin yeirs monies o tha fowk at haed pit oot in tha Earn Wäng wud wrocht owre ocht for tha Scotch an tha Kirk in Ulster an Scotlann.

Bot quhit gin the haed nocht pit oot at tha hinnerenn o tha yeir? Quhit gin the haed wän Americae? Quha kens? We cud mak muckle speirins. Bot tha traik o tha Earn Wäng misgaed. Tha fowk daed nocht wän. Hooaniver, we maun gie respeck tae, an ferlie at, thaimuns at ettlet tae be wor ain Pilgrim Faithers lang syne.

John Erskine

Notes on spellings: There is no fully accepted style of writing and spelling Ulster-Scots. This text represents simply one approach. Certain, slightly modified, standard forms of written Scots are used here:

tha — the: thae — those: thaim — them; thair — their; thar — there; the — they; thir — these.

The traditional Scots form of ‘quh’ is retained where ‘wh’ would be used in English.


abies — except

adaes — difficulty, trouble

ahint — behind

aiblins — perhaps

Airlann — Ireland

airt — to steer

aisement — relief

anent — according to

appunct — appoint

asperans — hope

atweesh — between

bensell — violence (of a storm)

big — to build

blatter — to beat, pummel

blouster — violent squall

bluffert — squall of wind and rain

blythe — glad, happy

cahute — ship’s cabin

calfat — waterproof

certes — certain

chaptane — captain

cleck — to give birth to

clift — plank

colf — to caulk, fill

collogue — private discussion

cordell — rope

couther — mend, repair

darg — work, task

ding — to beat, batter

ding tae scowes — smash to pieces

drook — to drench, soak

earn — eagle

eftèr — after, afterwards

ettle — to plan, intend

fair — to improve, clear up

fearlie — to wonder, marvel

flochtit — excited

forfauchen — exhausted, worn out

frowart wuns — contrary winds

furthersome — favourable

gar — to cause, make

gin — if

graith — rigging

greathairtit — sorrowful

groond — to ground, beach

gubernakil — rudder

guddis — goods, cattle

gurl — to roar, howl

hairtenin — encouraging

hairtsair — vexed, heartsore

herskit — source of grief

hiddle — to shelter

hidlins — secretly

hinnerenn — latter part

huidin — hinge

hunt — drive out, expel

hushle — blow in gusts, blow through

howd — to pitch up and down

howe — hull

ill-houden — oppressed

jachelt — buffeted

jalouse — to suspect

käng — king

kenspeckle — well known

kippage — crew

kirsten — to christen

lek — leaky

lik — likely

lenth and lang — (at) long last

loft — deck

lowden — to die down, diminish

lown — calm, diminished

lumes — tools

misgae — to fail

monie — many

munt — month

nar — near

narra seys — narrow sea, strait

neam — name

ocht — anything

ootreikit — fitted out

ourloft — topdeck

owre ocht — very much

owreset — to overturn, overwhelm

pralat — prelate

ratch — damage, disable

respeck — admiration

rive — to tear

sair — distressing, oppressive

sault — sold

scrip — to mock

simmer — summer

simmer — beam, spar

skirl — blow with a shrill noise

smather — to smash, shatter

snuve — to move steadily

sonzie — delay

speir — to ask

speirin — question, guess

syne — ago

takinar — sign, portent

threap — to argue, assert

tofruschit — smashed to pieces

traik — journey, voyage

uphoud — to support, uphold

wale — select, choose

wän — see win

wäng — wing

wap — tie, secure

waur — worse

waw — wave

wede — rage

win — reach (a destination)



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